Chief Charlie Boyte's report for October 2018

chief

PIFR attended 195 incidents as of September 17th. We’ll likely respond to about 300 calls again this year. The extended fire season and call volume have placed a burden on our responders and we need to lighten their load. The old adage “many hands make light work” is appropriate. That is why you are seeing our “Paid on Call” (POC) recruiting signs popping up.

Some may wonder what has changed with our volunteer fire department. The answer is simple: A lot. When I started in 1981 we answered fewer than 10 emergency calls each year and you could join the team with a few hours of training. Those days are long gone, so we called on our newest generation of volunteers to help us modernize our approach to recruiting and retention of firefighters and first responders.

What does POC really mean? A POC member is a firefighter or first responder who earns a living doing his or her everyday job and who also volunteers to respond to calls on a paid per call basis. Typically, the pay is a small stipend to offset expenses. POC members are trained and accredited to the same standard as professional firefighters. First responders are trained as professional medical attendants and are licensed and certified by the Emergency Medical Attendants Licensing Board.

Why did we choose this POC terminology in our recruiting campaign? Well, our old strategy was not working. The recruiting committee chose this language to emphasize that this is a "paid" commitment that comes with professional qualifications and obligations. We want to highlight that although it is a rewarding endeavour, it is equivalent to taking on another occupation. This strategy was employed to prevent recruits from withdrawing from the training once they realized the scope of their commitment. It also highlights the value of receiving recognized occupational certified training and skills worth many thousands of dollars.

POC volunteer professionals can go on to full-time career positions in larger fire departments. PIFR’s training programs meet the pre-requisite training standard for larger municipal fire departments with full-time staff. In fact, PIFR firefighters have gone on to make firefighting a great full-time career. Former Deputy Chief Mike Dine proved that this year when he went to serve as Chief in the full-time career fire service in Whitehorse. All Chief Dine’s training was acquired through PIFR.

How long is the training? A POC member will complete about 350 hours of training (approximately eight months of weekends including first responder medical training) to become a firefighter. It takes about 100 hours (approximately one month of weekends which includes the Incident Command System module) to be a first responder. To maintain these skills, a firefighter must complete 120 hours of skills maintenance training annually; a first responder, 70.

Can volunteers earn a living being a POC firefighter or first responder? No. Typically, a POC member will earn $1,000 to $3,000 annually.

Becoming a volunteer firefighter or first responder takes time, effort, and dedication. However, the benefits of saving lives and making your community a better place are worth every ounce of effort. If you believe that you have the commitment, time, skills, physical ability, and desire, please contact us for more information. If you would like to be part of our team, email administration@penderfire.ca and pick up an application.

Burning season is upon us and permits are required for outdoor burning between October 1ST and 31st. Please remember that you must abide by the regulations in CRD bylaw 3452 when burning outdoors. The bylaw and regulations are available on this website. Please be considerate of neighbors, especially those with medical conditions, and never burn garbage or other materials such as plastics or manure of any kind. These materials produce nasty smelling and highly toxic smoke.

Check your smoke alarms and CO detectors and please clean your roofs, chimneys, and gutters before lighting up your wood stoves this season. PIFR has already attended a chimney fire that was dangerously close to becoming a structure fire. Please look for the posters about our Fire Prevention Week open house, extinguisher clinic and Halloween in this publication.

Until next month stay safe.

 

Fire Chief Charlie Boyte


Forest Fire Threat Level

Burning is permitted
No permit is required
Regulations apply

member

Jason Atkinson

Captain
Vehicle Extraction
Technical Rescue

PIFR Members Only

For any Emergency:

call 911

Non-Emergency:

250 629-3321

administration@
penderfire.ca

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